Microbe Chain Review

Microbe Title

Title: Microbe Chain
Developer: Michael Friedman
Game Type: PlayStation Mobile
Download: 67 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: No 

There aren’t a lot of Free-to-Play games on the PlayStation Vita.  There are a few, but they are not plentiful.  What are there are sometimes riddled with technical problems or just a lack of content.  In looking through the Vita library, there are also some Free games on the PlayStation Mobile side of things.  We have reviewed one of these games before, which suffered from severe technical issues.  That was called Pop Bugs Zap.  It had an interesting concept and was a fun game, but the technical issues brought the experience down by a lot.

In recent weeks, there have been some more Free-to-Play games on the PlayStation Mobile platform.  We have seen some of these being advertised around Twitter, and we have explored some of these games, ourselves.  Some of these don’t suffer from severe technical problems, so we can give out some information on games that might be worth looking into.

With Free-to-Play games, you have to think about certain things, but in my opinion, it’s worth getting if it’s free.  After all, what have you got to lose?  The worst case scenario is that you aren’t satisfied with it and then you realize you didn’t lose a penny over trying it out.  With taking a mindset towards Free Games, here is our official review of Microbe Chain!

Story

This is going to be a non-existent section for this review.  Taking a look at the game, Microbe Chain is a game that doesn’t have a story at all.  The point of the game is to extend your evolution as long as possible without being knocked away from the cell/nucleus you’re on by flying rocks.  There isn’t a story here, so you shouldn’t go into the game, expecting there to be one.

Not to say there isn’t an environment a story couldn’t begin from, though.  You could think of a story for the game, showcasing a Microbe trying to survive in the giant world around them.  But you will not be seeing any scenes, animations, or anything else to showcase characterization or a storyline.

Gameplay

Microbe Menu

The game of Microbe Chain could be accurately compared to the old game Snake.  It doesn’t play exactly the same, but you’ve got the same concept going throughout both games.  You are playing as a small cell-based microscopic organism trying to grow.  You have a “tail” of sorts that continually grows throughout the game and must strategize to keep your tail growing but also staying away from the incoming objects aiming to throw you away from the Nucleus you call Home.

Like snake, though, your tail increases and gets longer and longer and longer the further you’re playing in the game.  At the start of any game, you are placed in the center of this nucleus and your goal is to never leave it.  While simple in concept, it is difficult in execution.  As you wander around this somewhat small nucleus, your tail grows longer and longer, and objects are flying at you that can launch you right out of there.  The goal of the game is to keep them from hitting you and your tail.

Weight and gravity play a big part in each game of Microbe Chain.  You are very top-heavy so, when you move, your head will move and gain traction as you move.  The head also moves and is more stubborn when turning than your tail is.  This can either be used to your advantage with your own placement and movement or it can be used against you.  Your goal is to last as long as possible to get a high score.  Aside from the objects, there are also power-ups you can collect in the game, which will help you like temporarily drastically increasing your weight to keep objects from moving you, or make you move faster.

The difficulty is a big thing in play here.  This game is not an easy game to master.  Get hit by even a single object in just the right place and it is Game Over for you.  As your tail gets longer, it becomes even easier to have this happen.  The game can get tense and keep you on your toes every second of a game session and one tiny slip-up could end the game.

If you want to have an easier time with things, there are also Micro-transactions you can utilize.  These will allow you to pay a small fee for a certain upgrade or enhancement.  You can enable you to have 4 lives in one game instead of just one for $0.49, an upgraded character for $1.49, or a way to limit or slow the rate that your tail grows for $1.29.  They are small transactions that aren’t needed, but could enhance the experience if it feels like it’s too hard for you.

All in all, the whole point of the game is to go as long as you can without getting knocked out.  There’s not much else to do.  An average game of this, at the beginning, can take anywhere from 5-20 seconds.  The longer you play and the better you get will get you to the point where you can have each session take full minutes.  But, all in all, this is not a game you’ll be spending a lot of time with.

Controls

There’s not a lot to consider with the controls of this game.  In fact, you’ll only be using a couple of the buttons on the system as you play it.  First off, you will have to use the touch screen to navigate the menus or access the Micro-Transactions.  Other than that, though, the touch screen doesn’t get much use.  Whether this is the reason or not, this game does not run on the PlayStation TV.

As far as gameplay is concerned, you really only have one button to use, and that is the Left Analog Stick.  There are no controls for speeding up, or attacking, or anything else.  All you do is move, and that can only be controlled with the Left Analog Stick.  You can pause the game with Start if you’d like, but for the most part, you’ll only use that one option for the entire gameplay session.  It’s a very easy control scheme to get a hand on.

Presentation

Microbe Gameplay

As far as visuals are concerned, Microbe Chain is a 2D game with completely 2D visuals.  All of the sprites, renders, backgrounds, and everything else are in 2D and there is no 3D anywhere to be found.  With this in mind, the designs look good and crisp.  All of the artwork and sprites have smooth edges and the game doesn’t show them off as blurred on the Vita’s screen.  It’s a simple design, but it showcases it well.

The game plays smoothly as well.  The initial load time is about 5-7 seconds, which is exceptional for a PlayStation Mobile title.  Although these titles began having an averages of 15+ seconds for an initial load, the new waves of games coming out is setting a new standard for less than 10 seconds.  The game also plays well.  When you play the game, there aren’t any frame drops or lag as you play through the game.

Summary

Microbe Chain is: Decent
Microbe Chain is a free-to-play game that is optimized well for the Vita.  On the downside, it’s a painfully short game that can have a session last all of 5 seconds, and the difficulty can be annoyingly hard.  If you’re looking for a snake-like game for quick game sessions, though, this isn’t a bad game to download for free

6/10

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